Monday, September 24, 2007

Not All Flags Are Created Equal

An email from our online correspondent George Merideth....

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The hypocrisy is so thick it's dripping from the ceiling.

Of one thing we may be sure; no military veteran will be welcome on most college campi . . . particularly if he has something to say:

UNM will not tolerate acts of racism or xenophobia
UNM Daily Lobo
Rita Martinez-Purson, Cheo Torres
Posted on 09/23/2007 9:31:58 PM PDT by Peter R. Lynch


We wish to respond to the recent incident involving the desecration of the Mexican national flag that was raised Friday on the south side of Scholes Hall.

The incident is still being investigated, but what we do know at this point is that after a ceremony celebrating the Mexican independence day - Dieciseis de Septiembre - the flag that was raised during the celebration was subsequently taken down and, as we understand it, ripped to shreds.

We understand that a suspect has been apprehended by the police, but the investigation is still ongoing at this time. We want it to be understood that the flag desecration is abhorrent to President David Schmidly and everyone in the administration.

In light of incidents that have taken place in the past several days involving students being targeted because of their race or nationality, we want it to be known that UNM will not tolerate acts of racism and xenophobia. These incidents will be answered with disciplinary and/or legal action against the responsible individuals. The person who perpetrated this despicable act will answer for it.

We wish to offer apologies on behalf of UNM to the Mexican Consul to New Mexico, Juan Manuel Solano; to the Mexican Student Association; to all Mexican nationals who have been affected by this deplorable act; and to anyone else who has been adversely affected by this incident. Please know we are doing everything in our power to make sure this act will be sternly addressed.

Rita Martinez-Purson
Interim Vice President,

Cheo Torres
Vice President
for Student Affairs

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My fellow Americans,

My name is Peter Ryan Lynch; I am a student at UNM. I am a decorated 8-year veteran of the US military, honorably discharge this July. I am appalled a foreign banner flew unaccompanied on UNM campus flagpole for three days, including a US holiday. I am an American passionate about our country and I would feel the same way if it were ANY foreign banner.

The Mexican flag was flying over UNM campus unaccompanied by an American flag on U.S. Constitution Day 17 September 2007.

According to United States Code (Federal Law): "The flag should be displayed on all days especially on… Constitution Day, September 17…."

"The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution."

"The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse."

Throughout history, flying a nation’s banner is a claim of ownership. To do this on U.S. Constitution Day is an insult to all Americans. I am outraged that UNM administration allowed this happen. I thought before my class was over they would address the issue. I left class, and the foreign banner was still unaccompanied. I went to the dean’s office, pleading for action. I also notified Army ROTC, who has the honor of raising and lowering the US flag on UNM campus this month. I waited one and one half-hours after these notifications to take action myself. I made a profound statement and tore down this foreign banner. My actions although overzealous, are warranted.

Americans have one of the most diverse cultures on the planet, we embrace our differences, and unless you are a foreign visitor or illegal immigrant then your nationality is American! We are all equals under the Constitution and Stars and Stripes that protect us. Americans should fly their historical nations’ banners with pride. UNM is a public institution, governed by the laws of our nation, and on 17 September 2007, Federal law was broken; American’s are insulted. I am livid, with all the press coverage, only Julian "Top" Martinez said anything in my defense.

Furthermore, the press has a responsibility to gather all the facts before printing.

I would like to assure El Centro de la Raza that hate or racism did not motivate my actions. I ask UNM administration specifically, David Schmidly (University President), Rita Martinez-Purson (Interim Vice President for Academic Diversity), and Cheo Torres (Vice President for Academic Affairs), to apologize to all the American Students, including Mexican-American students, for allowing a foreign banner to fly over UNM for three days in violation of Federal laws.


Peter Ryan Lynch